Only 'effective leadership' would deliver the government's national plan, NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Thornton told delegates. He said the confederation wanted to see a 'leadership academy' identifying talent, promoting NHS values and educating leaders. 'At present we do not value leadership enough, ' he said, calling for the development of 'local line leaders' in clinical teams or 'laboratories, kitchens or outpatient departments'. Leaders would have to drive through change but 'avoid any sense that the doctors have their backs against the wall'.

The way the medical profession would react was the concern confederation members 'most frequently raised'.